Nicholas Stringfellow

Associate Head of Strings and Cello Tutor

Royal Birmingham Conservatoire

Nick Stringfellow began learning the cello through the Rotherham Schools Music Service and soon won a place to study at Chethams School of Music. From this point he started to develop a fascination with the art of ensemble playing and a love of the chamber music repertoire. He also formed a continuo partnership with harpsichordist Steven Devine, experimenting and developing an improvised style of continuo playing which is still central to his cello playing today.

As a student of Clive Greensmith at the RNCM, Nick was tutored in the American cello tradition based on techniques developed by Leonard Rose from Galamian. After continuing his studies at the RCM with Anna Shuttleworth and Anthony Pleeth he got a job as a music librarian with the BBC, allowing him to move to London.  He soon joined “Spirituoso”, the resident ensemble at Handel House and “Mercurius Company”, building a reputation for their thrilling music and dance performances. Nick continued this interest, collaborating with choreographer Will Tuckett on “Archduke Variations” with members of the Royal Ballet and his “Artaria Piano Trio”.

An appointment as cellist in the London Mozart Ensemble saw the beginning of Nick’s musical relationship with violinist David le Page. This provided an outlet for Nick’s continuo improvisations as a foil for David in his breathtaking Vivaldi Four Seasons performances. Nick has worked on several albums with David including “The Reinvention of Harmony and Imagination”, “As the Crow Flies” and the soon to be released tango album “Barcos” featuring bandoneon player and composer Eduardo Garcia. 

In 2004 Nick was invited to became principal cellist at Orchestra of the Swan. He has also worked as soloist with the orchestra including performances of “Variations” by Andrew Lloyd Webber for cello and rock band and he gave the European premiere of Doug Cuomo’s “Black Diamond Express Train to Hell” for solo cello, sampler and orchestra. As part of the Orchestra's involvement in the Ludlow Festival Nick performed a series of concerts, presenting the unaccompanied cello suites by Bach.

Continually in demand as an orchestral principal Nick also works with many eminent artists in the rock and pop world, leading cello sections for James, Smokey Robinson, George Benson, Dionne Warwick, Melanie C, Gloria Estefan, Johnny Mathis and the Led Zeppelin Masters. Nick spent two years as part of Russell Watson's touring band and also collaborated with tenor Alfie Boe on a version of the John Prine classic “Angel’s from Montgomery” for solo voice and cello ensemble.

Nick was part of the studio orchestra for BBC Radio 2's “The JFK Assassination: Minute by Minute” providing a live soundtrack from BBC's Maida Vale studios and appearing with artists including Paul Carrack, Eliza Doolittle, Magic Numbers and David McAlmont. As a session musician Nick regularly works at Air, Angel and Abbey Road studios in London for session fixers Isobel Griffiths, COOL Music, English Session Orchestra and Hilary Skewes.  He has subsequently appeared on many film and TV soundtracks including “Dracula Untold”, “Jason Bourne”, “Suite Francaise”, “Ghost in the Shell” and “King Arthur”.

As a string quartet player Nick has appeared many times as guest cellist with the Fitzwilliam Quartet.  At the Renewal Arts Festival 2008 in Caux, Switzerland they collaborated with saxophonist Uwe Steinmetz for a performance of jazz suite “Absolutely”. Since 2011 Nick has been cellist with the Villiers Quartet, winners of the Radcliffe competition and resident string quartet at Oxford University. Famous for their ground-breaking “VQ New Works competition”, the quartet have received international acclaim for incorporating techniques like online voting and internet streaming of their competition performances, involving composers from across the globe - “If only more quartet ensembles were so adventurous” Strad, December 2014. The quartet have performed on the BBC Radio 3 programme “In Tune” and they were the featured string quartet on the soundtrack to the acclaimed BBC TV drama “Lady Chatterley's Lover”.